Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alpha by Rachel Vincent

(Shifters #6)
by Rachel Vincent

STOP RIGHT HERE if you haven't read the first five books in this series! Seriously, go out and buy them. They're awesome.


The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder, and treason. Yeah, we've been busy. But now it's time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother's death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

it's not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I'm heading for a final showdown that can - and will - change everything forever. A showdown I'm not sure I'm ready for.

But life never waits until you're ready.

My Review
Grab a box of tissues before you sit down to read Alpha, folks. This one's a doozy.

If you've followed the Shifter series this far, then you know Faythe. You know she's brash, impulsive, impossible to put up with, and utterly true to herself and her ideals. You also know everything she's been through in the last year - attacks, murder charges, kidnapping, attempted rape, a run-in with the Thunderbirds, etc. All of that comes to a head in Alpha.

Colin Dean is gunning for her - dead or alive, he doesn't really care. And Calvin Malone wants her to give up and lay down so he can use her for his own political gain. Faythe, Marc, and Jace stand in the way of his plan for consolidated power and racial purity. After Malone locks them up on trumped-up charges, Faythe knows that she's going to have to man up to get them out of there alive.

Alpha was easily one of my most anticipated releases of 2010. I read books one through four last fall, then Shift as soon as it came out in February. Alpha's release date just couldn't come soon enough. The end of a series is always a bittersweet moment, but I knew Vincent wouldn't let us down with a cop-out ending. I can't imagine a better ending for Faythe and the Pride.

Alpha is the final book in the Shifters series, but you can get more Rachel Vincent by reading her young adult series, called Soul Screamers. You can also find her short stories in these anthologies: Immortal, Kiss Me Deadly, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, and The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2. She also has a new adult series that will debut next year.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ARC Review: Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman

Where the Truth Lies
(a companion novel to Breathless)
by Jessica Warman

This book was released yesterday! Go get it!

On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.

My review
I received this book courtesy of Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours.

This is one of those books that every teenage girl should read.

Emily is a good girl. Her father is the headmaster of her swanky Connecticut boarding school, and she has a pretty good life. It's not perfect - she could do without the night terrors or burning to death in a fire or drowning in the rain - but about as close as you can get. When a new boy is admitted to Stonybrook, Emily is naturally curious. The school has a long waiting list, and no one has ever been admitted after the beginning of the school year. Her dad won't give her any information about him beyond the fact that he's very smart.. and a warning to stay away from him. Really, you'd think parents would know better than to make a mysterious, good-looking, tattooed boy into the "forbidden fruit." Of course, the warning only makes her that much more curious.

Emily tries to stay away from Del Sugar at first, mostly because her best friend and one of her roommates, Stephanie, thinks she has a shot with him. but of course, as time goes on, Del pays more and more attention to her, and Emily is flattered that she is the only one that he is trying to get to know. They begin to date, and continue in secret after her father puts his foot down. After a few months, Emily discovers that she is pregnant with Del's child. The book from there on out is fantastic.

The other storyline in this book concerns Emily's night terrors. You can tell through her sessions with her school's psychiatrist and her parents that they are withholding information from her. I was rooting for Emily throughout the whole book to get to the end of the mystery. When all is finally revealed, it's easy to see why things unfolded the way they did, but nothing is black and white.

It's very refreshing to find a frank, not Juno-esque view of teenage pregnancy. Not everything is hunky dory. Decisions aren't as cut and dry as they seem. And Emily's life will never be the same. These are things young girls need to know. They think they understand, but they really have no idea of the emotional consequences of their actions. I grew up knowing why I was adopted, and the letter my birthmom wrote to me fully explained the situation and how difficult it was for her to make this decision. Warman does a good job in describing Emily's emotional state during this time. I do have to question where she did her research concerning closed adoptions, because most of that information was outdated by about 20 years. But the end result is still the same.

Where the Truth Lies deals with peer pressure, changing friendships, forbidden romance, teenage pregnancy, and long-buried family secrets. I would recommend this book for young girls in middle school through high school.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Contest Craze: Mini Challenge #1 (Princess Bookie)

Cindy over at Princess Bookie has challenged us to list our top five books of 2011! Here is my list.

(Fenestra #2)
by Amber Kizer

April '11

I only found out a couple of months ago that Meridian, the first book in the series that I read in August '09, wasn't a stand-alone book. I was so excited, I may have squealed. Just a little bit. :)

(Ironbridge Chronicles #1)
by Karen Mahoney

February '11

I read Karen Mahoney's short story in The Eternal Kiss anthology in January, and promptly fell in love with the universe she had created. She has another short story set in the same universe in Kiss Me Deadly, which I just recently bought. I can't wait to see what happens in the series itself.

by Lauren Oliver

February '11

I have heard nothing but good things about this novel. It had a dystopian feel to it, which is a genre I recently discovered and fell in love with. I'm so excited for this to be released!

(Jillian Conrad #1)
by Michelle Rowen

February '11

I have loved every book by Michelle Rowen that I have managed to get my hands on so far. Both her Demon Princess and Living in Eden series have been consistently fantastic. This is Rowen's breakout into urban fantasy, and I have no doubts that it will be equally awesome.

(The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1)
by Carrie Ryan

March '11

I originally picked up the first two books in this series because Carrie Ryan was coming to my local B&N, so I might as well get them signed while she was in town. I never thought I'd actually like books about zombies. Then I opened up TFHT and devoured both that and the second book in less than 24 hours. I've been waiting for TDHP since March, and it can't come soon enough!

Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton, February '11
Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins, March '11
The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong, April '11
City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare, April '11
Defiance (Strange Angels #4) by Lili St. Crow, April '11

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

(Paranormalcy #1)
by Kiersten White

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormal's glamours, but still. normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterous prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

My review
First, I have to say that I was drawn to this book for one (albeit odd) reason. Not because of the cover art or the blurb, as neither were available on GoodReads when this book ended up on my TBR list. It's because Kiersten White spells her first name the same way as my little sister. Not many people spell it that way, so it's oddly exciting to see someone else do it too. Strange, but true.

I loved this book! If I hadn't had a 7 AM wake-up call, I would have finished it all in one sitting. Absolutely fantastic. Evie is such a great character. It's so easy to empathize with her, because she's always the odd girl out. Not really paranormal, but not a normal human either, Evie doesn't truly belong anywhere. She has an admirable inner strength yet still has flaws and limits, so she's not a supergirl as a lot of urban fantasy tales tend to make their heroines these days. Evie's ex-boyfriend, Reth, is a faerie - but not one of the cute Tinkerbell kinds. He's dangerous, even more so because no one believes Evie when she raises the alarm about his behavior. He's obviously manipulating her, but why, and for what? Then there's Lend, a shape-shifter who breaks into IPAC's office at The Center. Everyone thinks he's dangerous, but Evie is drawn to him. Probably because he's the only person not trying to boss her around.

The Center, Evie's home, was a nice touch. For anyone who remembers a 90s-era show called The Pretender, the corporation's hq was called The Centre, and they performed many strange experiments there, even holding the main character, Jarod, captive from his childhood well into his thirties - when he escaped - so they could exploit his genius for research and capital gains. It still is one of my favorite shows, so it was nice to see this idea parallelled in Paranormalcy. I'm sure all similarities are coincidental; however, this is one of my favorite concepts, and I so enjoyed seeing it in a new context.

Paranormalcy is definitely one of the best debut books of the year! It's a fresh and new concept, and the details, like Evie's pink taser, only add to its greatness. I hope you all enjoy the book!

The second book in the trilogy, Supernaturally, will be available next September. White also has an anthology coming out next week called A Visitor's Guide to Mystic Falls, which will be various authors contributing their opinion on the first season of The Vampire Diaries.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Final Warning by James Patterson

The Final Warning
(Maximum Ride #4)
by James Patterson

STOP RIGHT HERE if you haven't read the first three books in the Maximum Ride series and don't want any spoilers!

As the world warms up, the flock feels the heat.

The thrill ride wasn't over when Max and her flock of winged kids flew off into the sunset at the end of Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports. Turns out retirement's kind of boring for the flock - especially when the planet still needs to be saved and they're the only ones capable of doing it. With the help of a group of environmentalists (who just might be trustworthy) and the flock's evolving powers, Max could even tackle a problem as massive as global warming - but a fes things keep getting in her way...

Max's Pet Peeves:
- Subhuman billionaires with floating body parts and a penchant for world domination.
- An army of programmed bullies who flex their muscles on little kids.
- Know-it-all older women who make Fang puppy-eyed when clearly Max is the one who should be making his knees weak.
- Being stuck in Antarctica surrounded by white, white, white.
- And the most annoying thing of all: being underestimated.

The world needs a wake-up call, and everyone is hitting snooze. But no one can ignore Max's final warning...

My review
As much as I have enjoyed the flock's adventures, I may be abandoning this series soon. The Angel Experiment was a fantastic start to the series, but the books have become progressively more focused on saving the environment. While that's not a bad thing in and of itself, The Final Warning read like an advertisement for (an organization which, no-so-coincidentally, has an ad in the back of the book).

With Ari's death at the end of Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, the story lost a key storyline. Was he really Max's brother? Does that mean Jeb is Max's father? Why does Ari hate Max so much? (etcetra, etcetra) It really feels like the series should have ended after the third book. The Final Warning changed focus entirely from the flock's original goal of discovering who they are and where they came from - now they are a six (bird) kid crusade against global warming. What happened to the original storyline? Does the author - and by author I don't mean James Patterson but his ghostwriter for this series - really expect the reader to believe that these kids are just going to give up on their original goal? That just doesn't ring true for me. As someone who worked for five years to find that information for herself, I had a hard time buying the idea that these kids would be fine with giving up that goal and going to Antarctica for someone else's mission, no questions asked.

The Maximum Ride series is a great, clean read for kids, but adults may enjoy the original story more. Although Patterson prefaces each book with a disclaimer that this series is not at all related to his adult novels, When the Wind Blows and The Lake House both feature avian-human recombinants, one of whom is named Maximum Ride. It definitely sounds like it's worth checking out!

The first three books in the Maximum Ride series are The Angel Experiment, School's Out - Forever, and Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports. The next two books - MAX and Fang, are also out. Make sure to watch out for the next two books in the series - Angel and Iggy - will be released in 2011.

The Humorous Paranormal Challenge


Bitten by Paranormal Romance is hosting the Humorous Paranormal Challenge from July to December, 2010. You have to read 20 funny paranormal romance novels within those six months. Check out her blog for a list of recommended books. I'm not sure if I'll be completing the challenge this year - every time I try to plan my reading, something else comes up and there goes the plan! But I'm going to give it my best shot. :)

  1. Sleeping with the Fishes by MaryJanice Davidson
  2. Swimming without a Net by MaryJanice Davidson
  3. Fish Out of Water by MaryJanice Davidson
  4. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
  5. Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
  6. Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
  7. Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
  8. How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Week in Books (#5)

Credit for IMM goes to The Story Siren

Books received for review

Salvaged by Stefne Miller
Curtesy of Star Book Tours

'My body was being torn apart, and my stomach felt as if it exploded. The pain was excruciating, and I was aware that I was dying... 'Mom?' My vision was murky, but I could see her face. It was bloody, and her eyes were large and full of fear. Her voice calmed. 'Get out of the car, Attie.' Her words sounded crisp and clear. I looked into the backseat in search of Melody and found her lying covered in blood in a twisted heap on the floor. I turned my attention back to my mother and out of the corner of my eye saw fire. 'Get out, Attie!' 'Mom?' Everything went dark.' Attie Reed should have died in the wreck that stole the lives of her mother and best friend. But her life was spared. Why? When Attie moves to Oklahoma to stay with the Bennetts for the summer, she hopes she has left her nightmares behind. But her battle is far from over, and Riley Bennett steps forward to help her fight the nighttime monsters. As the battle wears on, Riley begins fighting monsters of his own: his feelings for Attie. And Attie realizes she must begin to face the monsters of the night herself if she wants to conquer them for good. Can Attie's life be Salvaged?  

Trance by Linda Gerber
Curtesy of Good Golly Miss Holly

It begins with a subtle vibration, a tingling.

There is time to take only one breath.
The trance begins.
When it is through, Ashlyn is certain of two things:
Someone she knows is about to die.
And she is powerless to stop it.

Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
Curtesy of the author herself!

Mind Games follows the adventures of Justine Jones, a hopeless hypochondriac who longs to be normal. Instead, she is recruited to join a psychological hit squad in a city terrorized by criminals with strange powers…only to fall for her most dangerous target!

Books bought



What I read this week

Books I started but haven't finished (yet!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On My Wishlist (#1)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City every Saturday in which we list books we desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. The books can be old, new or forthcoming.


Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed ... and survive.

THESE HEROES ARE 100 PERCENT RAW, DANGEROUS, AND . . . UNDENIABLY SEXY. New York Times bestselling authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Cindy Gerard and rising romance star Laura Griffin mix seduction and suspense in three irresistible romantic adventures. From sultry international jungles to the rugged terrain of the American Southwest, join the larger-than-life, scorching-hot alpha heroes of the Bureau of American Defense, Black Ops, Inc., and the U.S. Navy SEALs for all the pulse-pounding, heart-racing, toe-curling excitement. They're cool under pressure, steamy under the sheets, and when the enemy strikes, there's not a lethal mission these gorgeous men can't handle. . . . Just Bad Enough

Sweet and innocent with a twist of girl-next-door, Cadence Jones is not your typical girl and certainly not your typical FBI agent. Just ask her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. (Wait. . .best if you don’t ask Adrienne anything.) But it’s her special “talent” which makes Cadence so valuable to the FBI and it never comes in more handy than when she and her partner, George, get tagged to bring down the Threefer Killer. A serial who inexplicably likes to kill in threes, leave behind inexplicable newspaper clippings, and not one shred of decent forensic evidence, soon starts leaving messages that seem to be just for Cadence and her sisters. Could it be that this killer knows all about her special “talent”? That she, Shiro and Adrienne are in fact three separate personalities in one body? And if he does know, what does the killer who likes to kill in threes want with her and her sisters? In the meantime, love blooms in the most unexpected place with Cadence meets her best friend’s gorgeous brother who is in town visiting—and discovers that he knows her secret too! And when attraction burns hot between them she is shocked to learn that he wants to date her—all three of her. Her best friend isn’t thrilled with the romantic development and this time Cadence just might agree!
Suddenly Cadence finds her unbalanced life turned even more upside down as she tries to date a baker who wants to get in her heart and in her bed, dodge a psychiatrist who wants to integrate her and her sisters, keep a leash on her sociopath partner, while trying to catch a serial killer who’s now fixated on her.
Some days it’s not even worth getting up in the morning. . .


The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc, and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder, and treason. Yeah, we've been busy. But now it's time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother's death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

It's not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I'm heading for a final showdown that can--that will--change everything forever. A showdown I'm not sure I'm ready for.

But life never waits until you're ready.